Coronavirus weekly need-to-know: Vaccines vs. delta, orphans, masks at school & more

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Each week, we offer you a roundup of our noteworthy coronavirus coverage.

More than 34.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday morning, July 23, according to Johns Hopkins University. That includes more than 610,000 people who have died nationwide.

Globally, there have been more than 192.6 million confirmed cases of the highly infectious virus, with more than 4.1 million reported deaths.

More than 162.1 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of July 22 — about 49% of the total population, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker shows. About 60% of adults and 57% of people aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated in the U.S.

Here’s what happened between July 16 and July 22.

Do COVID-19 vaccines work against the delta variant?

The delta coronavirus variant, formerly known as B.1.617.2, is sparking outbreaks in vulnerable, mostly unvaccinated regions all over the world. It has emerged as the most dominant version of the virus in the U.S., now making up about 83% of analyzed cases. Nearly two months ago, the delta variant comprised just 6% of sequenced cases.

Doctors and scientists say the public’s greatest defense against the virus and its variants is vaccination. But how well do the COVID-19 shots prevent serious disease caused by the delta variant?

Here’s the latest data on each of the three vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S.

Do COVID vaccines work against the delta variant? What to know as it spreads in US

Vaccinated people can still get COVID-19. What are symptoms?

COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect people from getting seriously ill with the virus, as well as stave off extended hospital stays and death. However, no vaccine is 100% effective and, though rare, fully vaccinated people can contract coronavirus.

These cases, known as breakthrough infections, can cause COVID-like symptoms — or no symptoms at all.

Continue reading to find out what are the most common ones.

Vaccinated people can still get COVID. Here are the most common symptoms, study says

US is No. 4 in world with most orphaned children due to COVID-19

Before the pandemic stripped the world of millions of people, there were about 140 million orphaned children globally. Now, an additional 1.5 million kids have lost their parents, grandparents or other caregivers to COVID-19, a new study estimates.

Of those children, nearly 114,000 are from the U.S., which ranks fourth with the most kids orphaned by COVID-19 deaths, behind Mexico, Brazil and India.

Other staggering statistics can be found here.

US is No. 4 in the world with most orphaned children by COVID deaths, study finds

Here are nations with the lowest, highest COVID-19 risk levels

Travel plans are back on for many seeking adventures abroad after the pandemic — but experts warn some countries are safer than others when assessing your COVID-19 risk.

An online tool by the CDC offers recommendations, or Travel Health Notices, alerting travelers to health and safety threats across the globe. The 4-level system ranks destinations based on reported COVID-19 data.

Level 1 is the lowest coronavirus risk level, while nations in the Level 4 category have a “very high” risk of coronavirus, the CDC said.

Traveling abroad? Here are nations with the lowest, highest COVID risk levels, CDC says

All students, staff should wear masks at school, pediatric group says

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended “universal masking” during the 2021-2022 school year.

Students over age 2 and staff should wear face masks regardless of coronavirus vaccination status as “a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines” and because many schools will not have systems in place to monitor the vaccination status of students and staff, the group said in its updated guidance for the upcoming school year.

Children ages 12 and older are eligible to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. But that still leaves many school-aged children who cannot be vaccinated, the organization notes.

All students, staff should wear face masks at school, pediatric group says. Here’s why

Dying COVID-19 patients beg Alabama doctor for vaccine

An Alabama physician has a stark message for those still resisting COVID-19 vaccinations.

Dr. Brytney Cobia, a physician at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, wrote on Facebook that she has recently admitted numerous “young healthy people” who are severely ill from COVID-19.

“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine,” Cobia wrote. “I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

Dying COVID patients beg Alabama doctor for vaccine, she says. ‘But it’s too late’

Hollywood can require COVID-19 vaccines for actors, crews

A new pact between Hollywood unions and studios allows producers to require that actors and crews on some sets be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

The deal comes as cases again begin to spiral upward in Los Angeles and across the nation as the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant spreads.

The agreement, reached between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and several Hollywood unions including those representing actors and directors, expires Oct. 1 unless extended.

Hollywood studios can require COVID vaccines for actors, crews under new union pact

Unvaccinated Americans think COVID-19 vaccines are riskier than virus

Many Americans who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 think the vaccines are more dangerous than the virus. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted July 13-15 found more unvaccinated Americans think the COVID-19 vaccines pose the greater risk to their personal health than think the coronavirus poses the greater risk.

Health experts, however, have emphasized that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Here’s what else the poll found.

37% of unvaccinated Americans think COVID vaccines are riskier than virus, poll finds

COVID-19 cluster that infected over 130 people linked to July 4

Officials in a Massachusetts town are urging residents to mask up after a COVID-19 outbreak linked to the Fourth of July.

A public health advisory was issued in Provincetown after an uptick in confirmed coronavirus cases — 132 in all. Town officials said infections and COVID-like symptoms were reported in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

COVID cluster that infected over 130 people linked to July 4, Massachusetts officials say

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